Worst Reads of 2016: A Rantlist

Worst Reads of 2016

Looking back, 2016’s been a pretty ranty year for me—but there weren’t many books I genuinely hated. Color me shocked.

But I still read some incredibly awful books, and the kind folks at Hype or Like Friday are prompting us to share the worst offenders, so here. I present to you a 2016 rantlist. *Confetti rains.*

Sloppy, Melodramatic Idiocy:
The Winner’s Trilogy

The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski is awful

I can’t believe I squandered so many hours of my life on this trilogy. What on earth was I thinking? I mean, yes, I love the premise, but the first book was one blinding red flag after another; I should’ve known better.

From the unconvincing romance to the astoundingly stupid characters to the rape used as a plot device/character motivation (twice!), and a thousand other sins besides, this trilogy was doomed to land on my OH MY GOD THESE BOOKS WHY list. I’d almost say it’s perfect snarking material, but I don’t think I have the stomach/strength of will to reread them. I can only take so much, you know?

(Well, okay, I’m a soft touch; if enough of you guys batted your eyelashes at me or whatever, I’d probably find the necessary masochism to do at least the first book.)

I’ve written spoiler-full critiques of all three of the books (BEWARE ALL THE RANTY SPOILERS): The Winner’s Curse (#1), The Winner’s Crime (#2), The Winner’s Kiss (#3).

Unrealistic, Racist Idiocy:
Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is awful

Confession time: I think I gave this book too many stars when I initially reviewed it, whoops. Two stars felt good-hearted and amiable at the time, but looking back on the book now (even after rereading my review), I can’t remember anything to praise about it. It’s a mess, and I’m seriously reconsidering my policy of only lowering a rating within a month of reading a book.

This book took the more unpleasant and stereotyped aspects of Middle Eastern culture (as if it’s one unified culture, which obviously it’s not), smooshed them together with the “coolest” aspects of the Old American West, and drizzled on top a nonsensical plot that realistically wouldn’t have happened in the first place. And then managed to present those unrealistic events in almost the most boring possible way.

My spoiler-full critique really is too kind.

Hilarious, Incredible Idiocy:
Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is awful

Okay, fine, I didn’t hate this book—but only because the process of snarking it was a fucking joy. I feel a deep and not-at-all ironic affection for this book as a result of those months we spent laughing and headdesking together—but I also know I would’ve genuinely regretted every moment I spent reading it if I hadn’t been snarking it with you.

This book is an awe-inspiring disaster; its intended plot is largely absent, its characters are unlikable idiots (with the exception of Kaltain, my love), and it prodded my feminist rage to new heights with almost every chapter. It’s a masterpiece, in a terrible way.

And yes, I can’t wait to get my hands on/snark the sequel.

DID YOU MISS MY SNARK? Here’s the chapter-by-chapter index; go, read, lol with me.

Boring, Lifeless Idiocy:
Mad Miss Mimic

Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra is awful

This review will be posted on Sunday, so, uh, spoiler alert: this book and I did not get along.

It’s in the running for the much-honored position of worst offender on this list, because it couples most of my complaints about the above books and adds to them exquisitely poor writing. Among other things, which I’ll briefly describe in my upcoming (spoiler-free) review.

Seriously, the sooner I get this eARC out of my life, the happier I’ll be.

UPDATE: At last, my review for this book has been posted.


Neither I nor any of these books exploded under the force of my rage and indignation, so it’s safe to say this wasn’t such a terrible year after all! Here’s hoping your year was equally not-too-bad.

Hugs,

Liam

(Oh, and three cheers for Larkin, Jill, and Britt for coming up with this topic! Come, everyone, join Hype or Like Friday; we’re reading A Thousand Pieces of You together this month, and’ll rant/squee together about it on the 30th. Don’t resist, it’ll be great.)


69 thoughts on “Worst Reads of 2016: A Rantlist

    1. Yeah, I had high hopes for Rebel, too. I’m still holding out hope that the series improves over time! I’ll let other, braver reviewers read the next installments and report back first, though.

      Oh man, it’s always so exciting to find someone else who doesn’t understand the hubbub over Throne of Glass. It’s SO BAD. Let’s shake our heads at it together. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I literally cackled out loud in Starbucks because the WP reader photo for the post was Throne of Glass, and I was like “Sure. Same. This is going to be good.”

    Please make it a resolution to be more ranty in 2017. I obviously need way more Ranty Liam in my life. KThnxBai.

    By the by, I’m currently working on the petition to get you to reread the first book of The Winner’s Trilogy and snark about it. Naturally, I promise to read it with you (for the first time!) But you also know better than to hold me to that because I’m flaky af.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I am SUPER PLEASED.

      I’m also now super in need of coffee. Why do you do this to me, Morgan, I thought we were buds.

      Just between you and me (and anyone else who reads these comments, uh) I’m currently a few chapters into a snark of Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’m planning to post the first chapter on January 2nd, if these trial chapters go well. Please burn incense for/pray for/send booze to me; it’s rough going so far. My husband’s reassuring me that this first draft is amusing, but all I see in it is weariness and rapidly accelerating rage; I don’t remember how to funny. Dies slowly.

      Seriously, if you’re the one asking, you don’t need a petition. (You have better things to read, anyway.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Remember that time (the many, really) when you decided that overloading my TBR with your recommendations was totally okay? Consider this payback.

        Everyone go away. This is a secret [/accidentally draws attention to it]. Okay, you know… this gives me time to get this book and start reading ahead of time. It’s like knowing the teacher’s syllabus beforehand (only I care enough to read ahead of the class this time around). STOP IT WITH YOUR LIES. Obviously, your husband and I both know that you are hilarious. So, shush and just schedule the post.

        Do I, though? (Yes) But would I drop them to join in the snark (Also Yes)

        Like

  2. I didn’t like ToG much so I’ll have to read your snark reviews! Too many ppl I know loved the book but I’m just over here like “eh.” I was looking forward to Rebel of the Sands and the Winners Trilogy but now I’m not so sure 😂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL, I know. Not sure why I was in jail the first time but the problem’s all cleared up! 😀 Thanks for checking your spam! Who knows how many of us have fallen into the spam abyss LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  3. HAH! I loved reading about how much people dislike a book as much as I love seeing how much people love books!

    I want to do this on my blog, but I think I would incite the pitchforks (just kidding) because a book I really disliked was Clockwork Angel. And I know this has such a dedicated following with loyal fans. ;_; I don’t know! I just don’t like Cassandra Clare’s writing and her characterization. Not my cup of tea at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree! Rage and indignation make for excellent reading. 😁

      Oh, you should totally do it! I’ve read a few strongly negative reviews of Clare’s work, and would absolutely love to read more. I never read beyond City of Bones, but have heard that Infernal Devices is better-written; I was actually planning to eventually give Clockwork Angel a go. Really, you’d be doing a public service, protecting innocent potential-readers like myself. Hopeful.

      Like

  4. Oh Liam, you’re snarky review of ToG is what finally pushed me into reading it… While the first book definitely wasn’t anything to write home about, I’ve enjoyed the rest of the series with the exception of Heir of Fire. I’m sooo looking forward to seeing what you think of the next book!

    Also, I’m not particularly looking forward to Rebel of the Sands as I had a feeling it would be boring. You just confirmed it haha!

    Like

  5. I’m clapping and laughing so hard 😂😂😂
    I remember each and every one of these reviews and I loved each and everyone. Damn right Rebel is Unrealistic, Racist Idiocy! And I felt like I read Throne of Glass just by reading your chapter break-downs and those are seriously the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh I’m sorry to see you didn’t enjoy Rebel of the Sands and The Winner’s Trilogy, I actually really enjoyed both those books/series but I guess they’re not for everyone. 🙂
    Also I LOVED your chapter by chapter rant reviews for Throne of Glass. Honestly I was in tears sometimes laughing as I read your thoughts and rants of Celaena and the other characters. Do you plan to read the second book anytime soon or do you not want to do that to yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you did enjoy them! And I’ll be looking forward to your review of Rebel’s sequel; that’ll really help me decide if I should keep reading the series or not. (I hope it’s amazing; all my fingers are crossed.)

      Aww, you’re making me blush. 😊

      It’ll probably be next autumn before I get around to the sequel; I’m hoping to snark a couple other books first, and my snarking process apparently takes about three months per book. Maybe I can learn how to speed up the process, though; that’s an embarrassingly long time to take! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Liam, and hopefully I’ll be able to post a review for Rebel’s sequel pretty soon after its release. It’s one of my anticipated releases for next year after all! 😀 Hopefully it will be amazing enough to convince you to carry on with the series.
        I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for it, but I look forwards to all your snark reviews actually. Wow, three months is quite a while, but your reviews do go in depth so it’s got to take a bit of work to write each one. They’re all amazing though, and you can clearly see the effort that goes into each! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh God, YES to Winners Curse! I really didn’t like the book. When I first read it I DNF, and than I read it for Hype or Like Friday and realized why I DNF, it was boring and had thinly developed characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so, so sorry that you read this book twice, and couldn’t enjoy it either time. I’m also amazed and inspired by your fortitude, that you managed to pick it up a second time! Hopefully the next time you reread a DNF, you fall unexpectedly in love with it. 😀

      Like

  8. Pretty much everyone I know raves about how good The Winners trilogy is. I guess I’ll have to read it for myself and find out! I read one review of Rebel of the Sands (it was spoilery and I read it cause I didn’t think I’d end up ever reading the book) and wow are the stereotypes awful. Definitely never going to pick that one up! I love how you love to hate Tog, that’s totally me with ACOTAR and ACOMAF 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, do give Winner’s a try! I’m just a perpetually picky grump, so chances are great that you’ll fall in love with the series, and that’d be awesome. 😀

      But I fully support your decision to steer clear of Rebel. You undoubtedly have tons of other, better books to spend your time cuddled up with.

      Oooh, are you going to rant about ACOMAF sometime? I’d love to hear about it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I’m probably going to read ACOTAR and ACOMAF in April to prepare myself for ACOWAR and write my rant for ACOMAF then. So the story is more fresh in my head. It’s going to be a long review though…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Mission accomplished. 😀

      I’ll admit that I enjoyed Winner’s Crime more than Winner’s Curse–Kestrel actually DOES STUFF, finally–but the book was still so flawed that I just couldn’t actually enjoy it. And the third book is an awe-inspiring disaster, in all the worst ways.

      But if you do pick them up, hopefully you enjoy them a lot more than I did! Whether you gush or rant about them, I really would love to hear what you think of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great to hear, both that the books improve and that you’ll be posting about them soon! I did have a few little reservations about this book, but it sounds like I’ll wholeheartedly enjoy the rest of the trilogy. Can’t wait! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I never reached the hundred’s page of The Winner’s Curse, but if you make it snark material, I’m in all the waaaay 😀 flashes her long and mesmerizing eyelashes and sends her best waffles We had so much for with Throne of Glass sighs happily I CANT WAIT TO READ YOUR REVIEW FOR MAD MISS MIMIC or whatever the name is!
    I did not participate in this week’s Hype or Like because I refuse to think of the bad things that I read/did this year, hahaha. I want to end the year on a happy note.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gorgeous eyelashes AND waffles? That’s too powerful a pair, I can’t resist them. Looks like we’re in for some Winner’s Curse snark eventually.

      Ha, I hope you enjoy the Mad Miss Mimic review! I was so annoyed by the book, I didn’t go into a really long rant like I normally would; hopefully it’s still entertaining, though.

      I love your positivity; that’s a much more uplifting way to end the year. I applaud that decision. ❤

      Like

      1. YES. Though I’ll admit I cared less about their happy ending than an ending that made the struggle worth my time. “Surely this all can’t have been for nothing,” I was repeatedly overheard whispering to myself (by my cats mostly) while finishing the series.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post- I actually quite liked the winner’s curse while I was reading it, but I quit reading the series and honestly can’t think of a single reason why I liked it! Heck- I can’t remember a thing about it full stop! haha and yes I remember your wonderful snarking about throne of glass!
    Also nice socks!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this post! I completely agree on Rebel of the Sands. I went into that book with high expectations but didn’t even end up finishing it. The mixture of middle eastern tradition with the wild west theme she had going on didn’t sit well with me either. I’m also very glad you don’t like Throne is Glass! I had so many problems with that book, I haven’t read the sequels.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh yay! I’m so glad that you didn’t like ToG much either. So many of my friends loved the book but I was just over here like “eh.” I’ll have to go and check out your rant filled reviews. I think I’d enjoy them VERY much haha. I’m trying to re-read ToG again to see if my opinion changes but I’m not really expecting it to. I heard the second one is much better though! I was really excited to read the Winners trilogy and Rebel of the Sands because I’ve heard so many rave reviews over them, but now I’m not so sure. Thanks for the heads up! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I officially wish you were contracted to write the endorsement quotes for book covers. I’d totally buy a new edition of Throne of Glass if it has “‘Eh.’ – Azia” written on the cover.

      Yeah, it sounds like Maas’s writing is improving with every book she puts out, though I’ve also heard that ToG books two and three are still pretty rough. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you enjoy them, though! And that the series ends spectacularly, too.

      While I’m at it, I’ll hope you enjoy Rebel and the Winner’s books also. Think you’ll get around to reading them anytime soon? I’d love to hear what you think of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL! That would be the most hilarious thing ever. I’d love to see a quote like that on a book one day. At least it’d be hella truthful haha.

        Yes, she does seem to be improving as the years go on, although I heard her newest installment in the ToG series was a hit or miss for a lot of folks. So, I’m a little scared to go on, but I have to see it for myself. I love to rant about books, so at least if it’s a bad experience, I’ll still have some fun with it LOL. But I’m rooting for her to do well, because after ACOMAF, she’s become one of my favorite authors.

        And thank you ❤ I hope so, too. I think I might try to read them sometime next month! Maybe I’ll read Rebel a little sooner though. I really want that cover haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I really hope it does because that just promises a whole lotta Goodreads drama I don’t think I’m prepared for LOL. And yay! I’m really looking forward to reviewing them 😀 Thanks for commenting, Liam ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  13. HAHAHA. Delightful. The Rebel of the Sands actually wildly entertained me at first read (critical reviewer becca was dead and gone at this time) by you’re right—there’s a bunch of problems. The Middle Eastern stereotypes—a good bunch of which were also Indian stereotypes— peeked out at me real quick, but i kinda ignored them because i was pretty entertained and i am an awful person. But then Fadwa pointed out how some aspects were SO DARN OFFENSIVE to Muslims so that i definitely can’t stand by. I wish there were more research done :/
    THRONE OF GLASS LOL. This was one I marveled at in the beginning and now have zero respect for. I can take nothing seriously. It’s honestly ridiculous and perpetuates some very negative, stupid, childish, problematic, etc things. WELL WHAT CAN YA DO.
    honestly your snark is a gift to us all THANK YOU SANTA SNARK 🎅🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, critical reviewer Liam disappears at first sight of, like, Beauty and the Beast retellings. It’s a problem.

      Ooh, I don’t know nearly enough about Indian culture or Indian stereotypes to have picked them out or noticed the similarities. I have learning to do!

      I’ll support your ToG opinions to the death.

      Ahaha, Santa Snark. I’m way too pleased by that. Thank you~! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Your sock game is perfection, Liam. Recently, there’s been voices (not of my own) telling me to go give Winner’s trilogy a try because it’s either: (a) the apparently best thing ever, and (b) needs to be ripped to shreds (if possible). I’m not feeling like a rage read [yet] but when the feeling comes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaha, that pair and one other are the entirety of my sock game, not gonna lie. I’ve considered buying more, and taking a series of photos that lovingly parodies the books-and-smooth-legs-and-pretty-socks trend, but haven’t felt inspired enough to actually spend the money. Bitchy socks aren’t cheap.

      Oh, man, I will be all over your review(s) of any and all Winner’s books you pick up. I will be all over them so fast, I can’t even tell you.

      Like

  15. Hehe, my favorite reviews are ones where other readers critique a book I love. It doesn’t necessarily sway my opinion that much but I love reading different perspectives. And you know how I feel about the TWC trilogy, hehe. 😉

    AND THE PHOTO. I love your socks, by the way. Also, I feel like it was intentional that the human is pointing at the book. How strategically placed. I approve. 👌🏼☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Different perspectives are invaluable! I try to find negative reviews of books I enjoyed for that exact reason. More than once, I’ve been completely oblivious to a problematic aspect of a book that a negative review opened my eyes to. (And negative reviews can be just great fun to read, period.)

      Aw, thank you so much! I’m not gonna lie, it took me a bit of contorting to find the one position that (a) didn’t look super weird, and (b) she’d be pointing to the book in. The pointing was important to me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If we’re in fact the same person, I strongly advise against reading The Winner’s Trilogy. You don’t need its awfulness in your life. But if you do read it, I hope you love it! (Either way, I’d definitely enjoy reading your review.)

      Ha, I’m glad to hear it! ToG was amazing fun to snark, that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

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